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News > Academy News > All Arms Pace sticking at Sandhurst: A Display of Precision and Unity

All Arms Pace sticking at Sandhurst: A Display of Precision and Unity

Last Thursday, teams from around the world descended on the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for the annual All Arms and International Pace Sticking Competition.
17 Jun 2024
Academy News

This esteem event, known for its display of discipline, precision and team work saw a total of 19 teams, compete in different categories for the title of International Pace Sticking Team or the prestigious Individual Pace Sticking Champion.

Seven international teams from Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Pakistan completed alongside twelve teams from the British Army including Royal Logistic Corps, AFC Harrogate, Grenadier Guards, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Corps of Royal Engineers, Guards Company ITC, Soldier Academy Pirbright, Irish Guards and three team from RMAS.

                      

The competition took place on a cold and windy parade square in front of the steps of Old College. Despite the challenging weather, each team took their turn to perform in front of the judges, demonstrating their mastery of the pace stick drill.

Throughout the competition, teams marched in both slow and quick time, expertly alternating the turning of the stick with their left and right hands. The objective of the pace stick drill is to ensure uniformity in the use of the stick, as well as to maintain a high standard of steadiness and cohesion among the instructors. This meticulous display of drill prowess highlights the discipline and precision that are hallmarks of military training.

Winners -           RMAS ‘Lord’

Runner-up -       RMAS ‘Louts’

Best pace sticker – CSgt J Moore

Best Driver – WO2 (CSM) Green

International Team

Winners – Bahrain Police B

Runner-up- Bahrain Police A

A Short History of Pace Sticking

Roman Military Engineers used a Pace Stick almost identical to the modern British Army version, with the main difference being a length of rope in place of the modern brass locking bar. When the Roman Pace Stick was fully open, the rope went taut, and the stick was locked at an angled that measured two Roman marching paces. When building roads, the Roman ‘sticker’ would turn his implement 500 times, which equated to one Roman mile. A milestone would then be erected, and this process would be repeated for the entire length of the road. The length of the modern-day Pace Sticking course is somewhat shorter, but it is heartening to know that even if Rome wasn’t built in a day at least it was built with the aid of a Pace Stick.

The Royal Regiment of Artillery lays claim to being the originator of the Pace Stick, using it to measure the correct distances between guns, limbers and ammunition caissons. Sir John Moore, ‘father’ of the British Light Infantry writes of the ‘efficient use of Pace Sticks’ by the Sergeants in a training manual written in the early 1800’s. around the time of the Peninsular War.

In 1928, the late Academy Sergeant Major Arthur Brand MVO MBE developed a drill for the Pace Stick and promoted its use through the Army.

                          

This year's competition was a testament to the dedication and hard work of all the participants, who despite the cold and windy conditions, delivered performances that reflected the highest standards of military drill.

Congratulations to all the teams for their outstanding performances, and we look forward to seeing even more impressive displays at next year's competition.

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